Bluegrass 45, The


  • From Kobe, Japan
  • A legendary band from Japan that formed in 1967 and made its American debut in 1971 at Bill Monroe’s Beanblossom Festival.
  • Also includes the Watanabe Brothers (Toshio and Saburo), Japan’s first bluegrass festival promoters. They also publish the magazine “Moonshiner,” and started Red Clay Records in Japan. Saburo was elected to the IBMA Board of Directors in 1995.
  • The name comes from “Train 45,” “Colt 45,” and the year 1945 when bluegrass music was born.
  • Appeared in the movie “Bluegrass—Country Soul,” featuring artists appearing at Carlton Haney’s Camp Springs (NC) festival.
  • 2017, past members of the band celebrated their 50th anniversary with an appearance at the IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass festival and other venues in the USA.
  • 2019, founding member and banjo player Saburo “Sab” Watanabe died at the age of 69.